The criminal defense attorneys at Ellis and Bryant represent clients throughout the region who have been charged with a wide array of offenses. That includes people charged with trafficking drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and other substances. These are serious charges that can have life-changing consequences, both for the person accused of the crime and his or her loved ones. We fight these cases head on, working aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced when feasible but being prepared to take our clients all the way through trial when necessary. Our Jacksonville drug crime lawyers are committed to guiding clients through the criminal justice process with skill and personal attention.Drug Trafficking in Florida
Florida law makes it a crime to produce, distribute, or possess a wide range of drugs. Trafficking is a specific type of drug crime that is usually characterized by the quantity of the drug involved. A person who gets caught with at least 25 lbs. or 300 plants of marijuana, for example, is considered a trafficker under the law, even if he or she has never sold the drug. For hydrocodone, a person caught with 14 grams or more (without a valid prescription) is subject to trafficking status.
A person can be convicted of drug trafficking without being caught with the drugs in question physically in his or her possession. Courts call “constructive possession” situations in which a person has the power to exercise control over the drugs, even if he or she isn’t physically holding them. That includes when the drugs are found in your car or home.
The trafficking tag matters because it comes with harsher penalties than those for other drug crimes. Trafficking in marijuana, for instance, is punishable with a mandatory minimum of three years in prison and $25,000 in fines, if it involves less than 2,000 pounds and/or 2,000 plants. Trafficking in less than 28 grams of hydrocodone also carries a mandatory minimum of three years behind bars, as well as a $50,000 fine. The mandatory penalties increase with the quantity of the illegal substance involved.Defenses in Drug Cases
There are a number of potential defenses available in Florida drug crime cases. It’s critical that you consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to start building these defenses, even if you are simply under suspicion and haven’t yet been charged.
Some of the strongest possible defenses center on how the cops found the drugs in question. Police officers generally need a warrant to search a home or other property for evidence of a crime. There are a number of exceptions to that general rule, including when the drugs or other evidence is in plain view and when officers are in “hot pursuit” of a suspect.
Without a warrant, officers are required to have reasonable suspicion or probable cause–depending on the circumstances–to believe that a crime is occurring or has occurred if they want to stop you on the street, pull your car over or search you, your car or your home. If they don’t meet that obligation, anything obtained by the officers is likely to be excluded from the case against you.Attorneys Representing Jacksonville Residents Facing Drug Charges
At Ellis and Bryant, our legal team has represented clients in a wide range of drug trafficking and other criminal cases, including DUI, theft, and assault. Partners Gary Bryant and Samantha Ellis are both former Assistant State Attorneys with extensive criminal trial backgrounds. Our Jacksonville lawyers understand how judges and juries view these cases and we know how to build solid defenses for the people that we represent. Our firm is committed to serving clients throughout the region, including in Jacksonville, Orange Park, Jacksonville Beach, Middleburg, and other communities in Duval and Clay Counties. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a lawyer.